UNION, N.J. (1/13/17) – The No. 10 Kean University men's volleyball team earned a comeback victory over Benedictine University to stay undefeated and complete a perfect 4-0 march through the Kean Winter Classic on Friday.
Kean 3, Benedictine 2
Kean hit .722 in the first set that was won in dominant fashion, belying how tight of a battle the rest of the match would become.
The Cougars were down 8-3 in the second thanks partially to back-to-back aces by Markus Reimer., BU enjoyed a four or five-point lead through most of the set. Kean clawed back to within one at 24-23, but a kill by Nick Malak earned them the two-point win. Benedictine went from hitting .000 to .414 in the second set.
Nico Mercadante serving back-to-back aces in the third set was a bright spot for the Cougars, but Kean fell 25-20 to fall behind two sets to one.
The fifth set was an instant classic. The score was tied for 13 of the 14 possible times in the set; neither side able to pull away from the other. Finally, with the score tied at 14, Kean turned to Shayron Taylor to grab the 15-14 lead. Then at match point, Kauffman put one down off the 59th assist from Ian Capp. It was Kean's first lead of more than one point in the entire set, but it was enough to earn the victory.
Kauffman finished the match with 20 kills, and Dylan Flor (pictured left) added another 18 for the Cougars. Nick Breslin had 15 digs and Kean finished with a season-high nine blocks, led by Flor's five.
Kean 3, Cairn 0
Against the Highlanders in the day's second match, the Cougars had little trouble putting away their opponents. Kean held Cairn to a .000 hitting percentage in the three sets.
Warner and Kauffman were named to the all-tournament team for the Cougars.
Kean will remain home for a one-off non-conference match against John Jay College on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Kean Winter Classic All-Tournament Team
Tyler Cucullu – Mt. St. Vincent
Elijah Medlock – Benedictine
Bryn Lipton – Endicott
Brandon Kohler – Hunter
Ben Crusinberry – Hunter
Jared Warner – Kean
Jacob Kauffman – Kean